19 March 2014

enough is enough

In the thick of this winter, my new laptop arrived in a plain box with neither directions nor hoopla.

Is that all, I thought, as I removed it from its box. I wasn't sure what else to do, so I pressed the power button -- and it powered on!

No cords, no charging. Just power.

I'm not sure why this surprised and delighted me so, but it did. Incredulously, I stared at this simple Dell computer with it's big bright screen, its full charge, its number pad, its stick-less keys and its endless possibilities. 

Ahhhhhhh -- I breathed it in. With wonder, amazement, and tears in my eyes, I cooed, coddled and smiled at my newborn baby.

Although the battery appeared to be fully charged, I plugged in my laptop because that's what I've always done. I've spent much of the last decade typing on computers that couldn't hold a charge to save my life, so without thinking much about it, I followed my instincts.

To recap, in case you missed it the first time: my brand new laptop arrived at my doorstep fully charged, and I plugged it in anyway.

At the time, this never struck me as funny or odd or unnecessary, but when I think about it now, it strikes me as all three; it strikes me as blogworthy.

The clouds are low, colors are muted and contrast is gone. Cold, misty rain fills the air and falls; everything runs together. It's a legitimately gray day. 

 We park our cars side by side and greet one another with warmth and hugs. "HHHHIIIIIIIiiiii!!" my girlfriend squeals and waves, smiling wide. It's been months.

"I think we should do THEE walk," she says. I know the one of which she speaks. 

We hike and walk and talk through Langley for hours -- up Al Anderson, past the cemetery, past the Fairground -- we pause to potty -- down to Sandy Point and to the water's edge -- way past the no trespassing signs -- back up along the marina and on and on and on...

We share about the last few months, about our lives and our teachers. We talk about our children, about our husbands and about ourselves. 

"I'm not sure what's been going on with me." I explain. "Things have been shifting, and I've been unsettled... the things I needed and wanted so desperately before I no longer need in the same way... I'm not going into town as much... I'm feeling far more drawn to my family and to my home..."

"Perhaps, you are full," my friend says simply. I hadn't considered this before then.
"HIIIIIiii, how are you today?" 

Although I don't know her name and she doesn't know mine, she greets me as a friend and smiles at me with warm chestnut eyes behind dark rimmed glasses. Together, we unload my shopping cart, and she expertly scans my groceries while maintaining relentless eye contact. 

"How are the kids?" she asks, then she tells me about her day, about her children and about the six-week old newborn she has recently begun caring for. 

"I haven't changed diapers in ages!" she exclaims. Neither have I.

"She is tiny, and she smells SO good. All day, I just rock and snuggle her like this." She clutches my broccoli to her chest and sways from side to side.

Oh, yes. I remember newborns.

On average a newborn baby sleeps 16-17 hours each day. If memory serves, she cries, eats and poops the rest of the time. So when a newborn cries, more often than not, someone will either change or feed her. Baby cries; she gets changed and fed. She cries more, she gets changed and fed more -- and more and more. But what happens when she's full?

Today, I feel full -- VERY full -- because I ate too much last night. 

Just after I left the check stand of the-friendliest-checker-on-Whidbey-Island, I passed by and exchanged uncomfortable glances with an acquaintance from my past. I waved hello as she drove by. She held my gaze, but didn't wave back. I felt -- something. And shortly after I arrived to my empty home, I received notice that my family's plans had changed; they wouldn't be joining me for dinner after all. I felt -- something. And as I unloaded my groceries and thought about that checker, about that look, about my family, about my week and about everything coming to my plate in the next seven days, I felt -- something. 

And rather than allowing myself to feel whatever it was I needed to feel, I ate instead. I ate long after I was no longer hungry and even past the point of tasting the food in my mouth. Perhaps you are full, a susurrant something stirred within me. Eventually I stopped. 

In the cold, gray and stillness that followed our move to this Island, I felt empty, exhausted and spent. I felt lost, undone and so, so sad. I've been reconstructing my life and recharging my battery since I finally found my footing on rock-bottom once again. For nearly five years, I've been all about soul-searching and self-care. Filling and feeding and dancing and reading and... 

And perhaps you are full. 

I've been charging my battery and attending to the cries of a wounded spirit, because that's what it took to get out of bed for a while. Changing. Feeding. Changing. Feeding. And I've kept on charging my battery and feeding my spirit because that's what worked when I was empty, and it's what I've always done. But this rainy Wednesday afternoon -- this last day of winter -- I feel uncomfortably full. 

Hara hachi bu, an ancient adage by Confucius (and also an Okinawan secret to longevity and long life) comes to mind. It is that concept of eating to 80%, which today feels apropos. Hara hachi bu is a practice, which requires consciousness, awareness and willingness. It is neither scarcity nor abundance, but rather sufficiency. 

Author Lynne Twist writes, "Once we let go of scarcity, we discover the surprising truth of sufficiency... It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough and that we are enough." 

This 2500-year old concept is a knowing that rests between two extremes. It is satisfaction that comes from not too much, but just enough. Apropos, indeed.

When I opened my eyes from the comfort of my bed this morning, I noticed the first blossoms blooming on the cherry tree outside my bedroom window. Fully and completely present in that moment, I felt -- something. I knew. Spring. 

I stayed in bed fixated on the view from my window. Simple. Plain. No fanfare, no instructions, no drama -- just perfect pink blossoms. I settled in, soaked in the light from my window and gratefully welcomed the arrival of a brand new day. And it was enough. 

My laptop battery is about to die. I think, I will go plug it in now.

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